A new IPTV station, Bay TV Liverpool, has been launched in the North West and been described as the "Scouse YouTube".
Bay TV Liverpool is accessed via the internet through a dedicated website www.baytvliverpool.com and a specially commissioned i-Player. The site is open to members of the public to upload content - including news and "video classified ads".
The station is run by a start-up company whose founder-directors are former Granada Television Liverpool station manager, Chris Kerr, and Chris Johnson, the managing director of the Mercury Press and Media news agency.
Operating from offices in Liverpool, the station has recruited a list of co-directors and consultants with broadcasting experience. They include Simon Ellis-Jones, Peter Berry, Simon Malia and Jeff Pickett. They are working in tandem with indepentent producers and Bay TV in-house video journalists Hester Perry and Eamon Lavery.
Kerr said: "Television viewing via the web is growing at a rapid pace. The net is also the fastest-growing advertising medium, having overtaken broadcast television as the market of choice for many advertisers, and that is the market Bay TV Liverpool is set to exploit.
"As the major broadcasters cut back on their local programming, there remains a substantial appetite for news and information about local sport, arts, the environment and every aspect of local life including public service information on health, housing, jobs and so on.
"The particularly Liverpudlian sense of place makes us confident in our belief there is a significant gap in the market for Bay TV Liverpool. Since the demise of the last experiment in local cable TV news, nearly a decade ago, Liverpool has been without its own television station and we are here to plug that yawning gap.
"We set great store by our key partnerships with universities and colleges, offering a platform for them to air material and a place for students to gain real-world work experience."
Johnson added: "Someone at the launch party described it as 'Scouse YouTube' and that's not a bad label since we do place great emphasis on public involvement and interaction. All our programmes have an option for viewer comments, but more than that we invite members of the public and local business to upload their own content. Millions of people have a video camera in their pocket these days, on their mobile phones, so it is easy for almost anyone to get involved."
Bay TV Liverpool is a partner in a consortium, led by AIMES Grid Services, a Liverpool University enterprise, and the government’s Technology Strategy Board, to promote digital inclusion.